I’ve avoided writing much about the Ukrainian violence and the rising tension between Russia and the U.S. over each other’s involvement. It’s not because I’m too ignorant or uneducated about the region, which might be the case.
I’ve just read many history books to know in such circumstances no side is worth taking and all share the blame. It would be like assigning blame to one government for World War I. All of them wanted war.
When you write about an issue, you’re expected to take sides. It’s a natural logical fallacy; if you think A is wrong, B must be right, or at least morally superior to A.
I refuse to accept this premise. There is more than two sides involved in this feud, more than two interests at hand. Geopolitical struggles are too complicated to be adequately summarized in 500 words. They are also difficult to understand while they’re happening. It takes a long time after the dust settles to give it context.
The other matter is figuring out fact from fiction. You cannot believe what any government tells you, or news sources from their respective countries. As a reporter, believe me when I say that the most important parts of a story get left out. All we the public sees is the tip of the iceberg.
It is during the prelude to war that lies are planted like seeds so they may blossom into justifications for the atrocities that inevitably take place.
On Facebook I came across this post by a Russian journalist, courtesy of the Libertarian Republic, that demonstrates my point. The U.S. shouldn’t be involved, but that doesn’t make ex-KGB man Putin a great liberator of mankind, either.
Recently I’ve had a fierce discussion with Western libertarians about Ukraine. I’ve already submit to the fact that Russian propaganda bears its fruits inside Russia, but I was unpleasantly shocked to find how much it is spoiling the minds of people abroad. People who are supposed to be our allies seriously talk about State Department spreading cookies on Maidan and compare terrorists of Donetsk with The Founding Fathers of the United States. The following is my view of the situation, but I am sure it is not fair to discuss the Ukrainian affairs without Ukrainians. I invite them to join the discussion and to prove they’ve never got cookies from McCain or Nuland for fighting with Yanukovich troops in Kiev last winter.
I don’t know who convinced Western people that State Department played the leading role in the Ukrainian revolution. Maybe Russia Today, a network whose mission is to spread hatred and hostility spending our tax money. We all understand that a state-owned media is not a reliable source of information, though Western libertarians believe Russia Today because the channel is criticizing Obama. But enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. We in Russia don’t fall into a trap like this and don’t pray NATO to come and save us from Putin.
Luckily, I don’t have to choose between Russian and American propaganda to find out who started the revolution in Ukraine cause I’m a reporter myself and I eye-witnessed the Maidan protests. I talked to entrepreneurs who bought medicines, food and clothes for protesters. I’ve spent a night in a revolutionary camp with volunteering students. My cousin is studying in Kiev and she was strongly in favor of Maidan though she’s never been interested in politics before.
As half of my family lives in Eastern Ukraine, I can say for sure that people of that regions never thought about “self-determination” until people like Igor Girkin and Alexander Borodai, both native Muscovites, came to Donetsk with Russian weapons and declared themselves the saviors of “Novorossiya” (a term promoted by Russian MPs, Russian Acadamy of Science and Russian state-owned media to legitimize the military intervention to Donetsk and Lugansk).
Remember the rule “practice what you preach”? Russian government is promoting values abroad that are illegal in Russia, like the right to self-determination. The will of the people to secede is indisputable, unless it is expressed at gun points. The Crimean referendum was forced from the outside by the country in which there have been no referendums for the last 20 years. Expressing “separatist views” is strictly forbidden in Russia according to a new bill and may cost you 7 years in prison. After the Crimean referendum a group of people in Kaliningrad held a rally demanding to split from Russia and join Germany (as historically it was a German territory). They are all under trial now.
I assume you think we hate Putin so much because we are mislead by the Western media. No, we hate him just because we live in Russia. And if the russophobia is spread by mass media channels and Western newspapers, I highly recommend you not to fall under its influence because Russian government and Russian people are not the same thing. I myself have been arrested seven times for anti-Putin protests, and there are millions of people in Russia who don’t support Putin’s policy.
We have the same problem here: Russian people confuse Obama’s administration and American people. Every political activist in Russia is officially treated as an American spy, especially if he or she often travels to America, like me. I usually say to my suspicious co-patriots that my American friends are only people who criticize Obama even more than Russian TV does. And it helps sometimes.
Read the whole post here.